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Day 56 Cork - Falmouth

As soon as Richard and Charlotte departed we untied and left, Paul was on the other bank to give us a send off and we were on our way to Falmouth. The journey is about 200 miles so was going to take more than a day. Sea Rose who had also been making their way back had left Dublin the day before and so they were ahead of us but had a better point of sail.

The sea runs along the south coast of Ireland with the tides and sets up a horrid fetch. We had about four hours with a very unpleasant sea state,, it wasn't so much that is was rough it was the direction and shape of the seas. After that we were in our stride and not another boat in sight anywhere. In fact I has the AIS on and there were no other boats at all only a few beacons marking light houses etc. I think that the Covid restrictions really had had a huge impact on cruising in Ireland this year, that together with the fact that September was a bit late in the season as all the schools would be going back this week made for a lonely place.

We made good progress and whilst the point of sail was very difficult we could not really make our course we would either have to tack or go via the Isles of Scilly. I didn't want to go via the Scillies because my ETA put it in the middle of the night so we carried in hoping for a wind shift. We had an estimated arrival time of around 8am if we kept up our current progress but realistically we were bound to meet foul tide somewhere either off Lands End or along the coast towards the Lizard.


What was that? I thought the mast was about to fall down then I noticed that the Genoa was sliding down the forestay. The shackle which holds the head of the sail had failed spectacularly. Our new sail went straight over the side… Linda - help! Up the companion way she shot and with the autopilot we were both on the foredeck with the boat pitching up and down (don't we love the Celtic Sea). We both stood there trying to heave the sail back on board but with tons of water in its folds it really was impossible. Our brand new sail was at risk of being lost on its first season!

I had an idea and it is funny how difficult it is to think of simple things in moments of stress, but I took one of the spinnaker halyards and attached to the head of the sail and as the boat rocked Linda and I worked to slowly winch the sail back up as the boat rocked to leeward, bit by bit we hoisted the sale which is seemingly undamaged if a slightly different colour. Immediately the boat began sailing again and it soon dawned on me that whilst it would be great to carry on it was too dangerous to do so because we would not be able to reef the sail and as it was going to be dark in two hours we don't want to have to drop the sail in the dark if the winds are so strong we need to do that, so it was an easy decision to drop the sail immediately. This we did but it was not a tidy affair and I lashed the sail to the rails.

As we approached the TSS off Lands End we had to turn at right angles ruining our point of sale but also putting us up tide so my ETA immediately dropped by 40 minutes. The crossing was uneventful, whereas Sea Rose had been stalked by several large vessels throughout the night. We did not welcome the loss in time because the forecast was for bad weather from the North East due in the morning.

We rounded Lands End and not only did the wind pick up but we had foul tide so we lost a further four hours. As we approached Falmouth, Nigel called and said to go up Carrick Roads as there was a space next to them on the pontoon. We arrived at about 11am and Nigel went straight up the mast to see if he could free our top swivel as it had jammed at the top of the mast. No such luck a rigger would be needed. Sally meanwhile cooked Brunch, hooray, there had been no possibility of Linda cooking any breakfast in the conditions off Cornwall - we were so grateful.

The next day Nigel and Sally left as they were supposed to be meeting friends, and we decided to stay another night to recuperate and then continue our journey back the next day.

The next day we woke up to thick fog, it was very localised but it was just hanging around. We decided to just follow our inward track and expected to get out out very shortly. Just as we released both lines my phone started ringing below. Linda ran down to answer it, it was my mother who needed me to return home immediately as my father had taken a turn for the worse. We turned the boat around and tied back up again with an audience who thought it was the fog that had made us return, but soon we had offers to look after the boat which we now had to abandon in Falmouth. Within an hour we were packed up and the Harbour master took us in his launch to a waiting taxi.



© 2021 Paul Reading